The VoIP challenge.For the past decade, a spectre has haunting the world's big telecoms companies. It is called packetisation. Packetisation means that voice calls, whether over fixed or mobile networks, can be bundled up as IP (internet protocol See Internet and TCP/IP.
(networking) Internet Protocol - (IP) The network layer for the TCP/IP protocol suite widely used on Ethernet networks, defined in STD 5, RFC 791. IP is a connectionless, best-effort packet switching protocol. ) packets and sent over a public or private network, just like any other form of data.
The result: revenue-earning voice traffic can be, and is being, re-routed over any IP data network, where there is little metering.
With voice over IP (VoIP) take up accelerating fast, all the operators - including mobile service providers - face a huge challenge. They know that voice-call revenue will plummet as customers switch to VoIP.
How are the big operators responding? Almost all aim to transform themselves into services suppliers - offering data, voice and video services, as well as more advanced forms of application support. Since 2001, BT has moved quickly into developing services aimed at tackling fixedmobile substitution, including its mobile virtual private network (VPN (Virtual Private Network) A private network that is configured within a public network (a carrier's network or the Internet) in order to take advantage of the economies of scale and management facilities of large networks. ) service, integrated access to BT's Openzone public WiFi 'hot spots', a trial VoIP service, and a range of business services. "I am on the side of those that say BT has to be radical," says Ben Verwaayen Bernardus Johannes Maria "Ben" Verwaayen (born Driebergen, February 11, 1952) is a Dutch businessman. He is currently CEO of BT.
Verwaayen studied law and international relations at Utrecht University, obtaining a degree in 1975. , CEO (1) (Chief Executive Officer) The highest individual in command of an organization. Typically the president of the company, the CEO reports to the Chairman of the Board. of BT.
Verwaayen, speaking at the recent Gartner Symposium in Cannes, said BT is looking to use its wealth of legacy infrastructure to provide services that customers will be willing to pay for.
BT has won some support from sector analysts. It is one of the few European telcos taking steps to address the growing threat from IP, says Martin Gutberlet, principal analyst at Gartner. "Integration with Openzone hotspots raises the possibility of low-cost voice over IP calls," he explains.
Kai-Uwe Ricke, CEO of German operator Deutsche Telekom Deutsche Telekom AG (ISIN: DE0005557508, FWB: DTE, NYSE: DT, LSE: DEU, TYO: 9496 ) (abbreviated DTAG) is a telecommunications company headquartered in Bonn, Germany. It is the largest telecommunications company in Germany and in the EU. (DT), also sees the future in services - but DT is moving more cautiously. "The fixed line future is broadband services See broadband and broadband service provider. ," he told the Gartner conference - but he is initially focusing on the business, rather than the consumer market.
"Convergence [of data and voice] is real in enterprises, but not residential." Under Ricke's stewardship, DT is attempting to branch out into business process support. "DT is not a network provider anymore, it's an ICT (1) (Information and Communications Technology) An umbrella term for the information technology field. See IT.
(2) (International Computers and Tabulators) See ICL.
1. (testing) ICT - In Circuit Test. company," says Ricke. "Businesses need billing services, HR services, and they need them with guaranteed service levels. These are all things that we have a history in." However, the big operators still lag far behind some of the newer, smaller rivals.
FastWeb, in Italy, for example, is a pioneer "triple play" provider, offering voice, data and video, as well as many add-on services.
"Most European telcos seem unable to lay out a clear road map for how and when IP network and service convergence will happen," says Lars Godell, principal analyst at Forrester Research Forrester Research is an independent technology and market research company that provides its clients with advice about technology's impact on business and consumers. Corporate facts
Meanwhile, the big mobile operators, such as Vodafone, T-Mobile, O2 and Orange, have begun tentatively offering IP based services. However they are largely protected by the current limitations of WiFi networks.
The holy grail Holy Grail: see Grail, Holy.
A very desired object or outcome that borders on a sacred quest. There are several Holy Grails in the computer business. is increased ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) A calculation often used to determine the overall value of an application. It is also used to rate particular customers, especially in the wireless space, by comparing someone's account to the overall average. - average revenue per user. Advanced triple play providers in Norway and Italy have ARPU figures of nearly C1000 - over four times the European average - proving those willing to embrace convergence can thrive.